House and Senate Committees are moving appropriations bills

No bills have passed both houses — no vetoes yet.

Moving fiscal year 2014 spending bills from committee to floor is a high priority in the House and Senate between now and the August legislative recess. To date (July 15) four of the thirteen appropriations bills have been approved by the House Appropriations Committee; one of those, the energy and water bill, has begun debate on the floor, and the defense appropriations bill is scheduled for floor debate soon. In the Senate, six of the spending bills have been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, including the bill that funds the National Institutes of Health.

On July 11, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill providing $30.955 billion for NIH, an increase of $1.80 billion (6.18 percent) above the FY 2013 funding level under the agency’s sequestration operating plan. That level replaces the cuts from sequestration and also includes a small increase over the FY 2012 NIH budget. Senate Labor-Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, noted, “This bill includes priorities from both sides of the aisle, on topics ranging from Alzheimer’s disease research and public health to science and math education and teacher quality.” LHHS Subcommittee Ranking Member Jerry Moran, R-Kan., used his opening statement to note that biomedical research was one area of the bill that received bipartisan support. The total NIH funding level includes $40 million to implement the new Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative as well as increased funding for Alzheimer’s research. The bill also provides $10 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to “build the public health research base on how to reduce the threat of firearm-related violence.” The report accompanying S. 1284 explains the committee’s priorities in more detail.

Sequestration continues, and advocacy to overturn sequestration continues as well. APA is an active member of the Nondefense Discretionary (NDD) Coalition which works to educate policymakers about the adverse impacts of automatic across-the-board cuts on this portion of the budget. The NDD coalition has a new website: give it a look.

While we have your attention: Thanks for hanging in with us while the APA website upgraded its infrastructure, which should mean more room to blog! And in non-budget-related news, the Federal Budget Blog salutes our former Science Government Relations colleague Karen Studwell, JD, who has taken a new position down the hall as APA’s Director of the Education Government Relations Office.